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Au Pairs vs Nanny vs Daycare

What is the difference between a Nanny (or Daycare) and an Au Pair?

As a live-in childcare provider, an Au Pair provides a unique cultural exchange experience and offers unmatched convenience for a family seeking childcare. Don’t be limited by your daycare center or nannies anymore; from budget, skills to schedule and more – with Go Au Pair, you choose what is most important to your family.

Au Pair vs Nanny Cost

On average, annual live in nanny cost is between $26,000-$35,000, while the cost of a standard Au Pair for a year is under $21,024. Most live in nannies for hire would not consider working up to 45 hours per week for that price!

Go Au Pair

Best Value
32 Hours of Child Care Training
Up to 45 Hours per Week, Up to 10 Hours a Day
Live-in Convenience
Choose an Au Pair with Similar Hobbies & Interests
Pick Your Au Pair's Nationality & Spoken Languages
Screened, Interviewed, and Background Checked
Local Area & HQ Support
Pay nothing until matching with your Au Pair


Limited Support & Lots of Work
Highly Variable, Your Responsibility
Schedule at Nanny's Discretion
Nanny's Choice
Options Limited to Local Resources
Cultural Exchange Not a Priority
Your Responsibility to Screen
Often No Professional Support
You're on your own with nearly every aspect


Limited Hours & Variable Staff
Daycare Chooses
Limited to Operating Hours & Late Fees
No In-Home Help
Staff Personality Will Be Luck of the Draw
Cultural Exchange Not a Priority
Depends on Chosen Daycare
Support Limited to Operating Hours
Limited in services offered and schedule flexibility


All our Au Pairs complete a 32-hour training course. Many are CPR and first aid certified and most are infant qualified with more than 200 hours of infant care experience. Take comfort knowing that your Au Pair is properly trained and prepared for unexpected situations.


Create the schedule that best fits your needs and have the flexibility to change it as needed. Flexible scheduling, up to 45 hours a week, 10 hours a day, and live-in care means no more rushed mornings and frantic after-work evenings.


Starting at about $8.98 an hour, the cost of child care doesn’t change even if you have more than one child. Add in our personalized payment plans and protection program and you have a truly flexible and affordable childcare solution.


Go beyond basic childcare: your Au Pair provides homework help, helps with meals and participates in the lives and activities of your children. Your Au Pair is more than a babysitter; they are an extended member of your family.


Whether it is learning a new language, experiencing native cuisines or introducing your family to different traditions and customs, your Au Pair will immerse your family in a new and exciting foreign culture.


Our personalized support sets the value of Go Au Pair above other forms of childcare. Local Area Reps support Au Pairs and Host Families, while our Placement Coordinators help Families with details and logistics.

Does your family need flexible and reliable childcare? If you are considering a live-in nanny, there may be a more affordable, consistent and memorable option. Go Au Pair offers American families a cultural childcare experience you do not want to miss.

For busy, modern families, Au Pair experiences are far more rewarding and affordable than live-in nannies, in many categories. From training to screening to convenience, Au Pairs provide more for less. It’s hard for any nanny to compare to the value of hosting an Au Pair.

If your family wants to find a live in nanny, I have some surprising news for you! An Au Pair experience, including the stipend, education expenses and agency fees, costs about two-thirds the average live in nanny salary. Not only that, the Au Pair Program offers so many more benefits to the entire family.

How much does a live in nanny cost? More importantly, how much is a live in nanny compared to an Au Pair?

Naturally, childcare costs vary from state to state. On average, annual live in nanny cost is between $26,000-$35,000, while the cost of a standard Au Pair for a year is under $21,024. Most live in nannies for hire would not consider working up to 45 hours per week for that price!

Au Pair Allisson and her host kids

How much does a full time nanny cost near you? Florida and Mississippi can average as low as $12 an hour, but the average nanny salary is over $16 an hour in Maryland and Kentucky. According to ZipRecruiter, more than half US states average over $14 an hour for a nanny.

Your Au Pair expenses can be broken into three parts which still add up to less than the cost of a live-in nanny. That’s right! An Au Pair costs an average of $8.98 an hour, far below the cost of a nanny. It’s literally that simple.

First the stipend is paid weekly to your Au Pair, and starts at a minimum of $195.75. Second, the host family contributes up to $500 toward their Au Pair’s educational component, usually paid directly to the college or university. Finally, the agency fees of $10,345 can be made in payments directly to Go Au Pair.

Does training cost extra?

No. When you match with an Au Pair, he or she receives 32 hours of training at our NYC workshop. Given our recent partnership with Long Island University, your Au Pair can earn their first 3 credits too, currently held online due to restrictions.

Host families can also search our database for candidates with specific skills, like driving, cooking, or swimming. For important skills like driving, families can easily determine how long a candidate has been driving, what kind of car, even in what type of conditions. Our NYC workshop offers a driving assessment, which provides host families an objective behind-the-wheel report.

We have candidates with CPR and First Aid training, if that’s what you need. There are even specialized programs if you want an Au Pair with training and experience in the field of education. Ask about our EduCare programs.

When you hire a nanny in your local area, training can vary greatly. There is no standard “nanny” training. You may get lucky and find a person who can dedicate themselves to your kids, but there is no guarantee they have had any training at all. It is up to families to research private nanny candidates.

Who does the screening?

Go Au Pair’s candidates are screened, interviewed and background checked, with all those documents available for review by host families. We even provide a personality test so you can choose a candidate with similar interests as hobbies as your family.

Host families are able to view an Au Pair’s previous childcare experience in detail, including the ages of the kids and types of duties performed. You can easily see a candidate’s work and personal references when viewing an Au Pair profile. All Au Pair candidates undergo a physical examination and provide a physician’s report for your review too.

While all Au Pairs speak English (rated between 1 and 5), families get to choose which language and culture to share with their kids. If learning Spanish or Mandarin is important, families can search based on language, as well as many other filters.

If you choose to hire a local person to live with your family and care for your children, the screening is fully your responsibility. Most of us wouldn’t want that responsibility, or even know where to begin.

Ready for the convenience?

Families who choose the Au Pair Program enjoy the convenience of a live-in best friend and big sister. An Au Pair becomes an integral part of your family life, available to help when you need it. What parent cannot say they could use an extra set of hands at odd hours of the day and night?

Au Pairs can work up to 10 hours per day, as many as 45 hours per week, and can work flexible schedules, even split shifts. They can stay home if the kids are sick or the weather keeps them out of school. Au Pairs can even drive your kids to school, lessons or activities when you have a meeting or want to fit in a workout.

Au Pair Priscilla and her host kids

Most live in nannies are from the local area and will have a life outside your family, though it is possible to find a nanny from another country. An Au Pair is here for a year of cultural exchange and learning, with your family at the center of that experience. Au Pairs want to learn from you and your kids and improve their English for better job opportunities in their home countries. Au Pairs are a safe and convenient way to expose your family to world cultures.

To make it even more convenient, you have the support of an agency with three decades of success! Families have a dedicated Placement Coordinator at the agency and a Local Area Representative near you, ready to answer your questions and help your au pair make friends.

Compared to a live in nanny, an Au Pair is a fantastic value, both financially and logistically. The agency handles all the paperwork and sponsors the visa. You enjoy the fun and convenience of a year-long cultural exchange experience.

About Our Au Pair Agency

Go Au Pair is one of the best Au Pair agencies in the United States, providing quality child care for over 30 years. Beginning as a nanny company in 1984, we soon expanded to include Au Pairs. We were one of the original Au Pair Program sponsors designated by the department of State in 1989.

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